Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should I do it? Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Catholic church tradition. Many of us have at some point, do now, or know of others who give up something for the Lenten season. I can remember growing up thinking about what I would want to give up and being so thankful that I wasn't Catholic because I like eating chocolate and drinking sodas (this seemed to be what most of my friends would choose).

Today, as I sat down to pray, I realized that it is Ash Wed. What is this day all about? Why have people celebrated this season for thousands of years? Should I consider giving something up? Well, upon reflection and research it appears that the Lenten season is a time to reflect on our sinfulness (our brokenness) and prepare ourselves for Christ's resurrection on Easter. It is a time to call all people back to God and help us to recognize our need for Jesus and the hope that he provides.

On Sunday, Jeff talked about forgiveness and our inability, yet need, to understand how much we have been forgiven already. If you are interested in listening click here (its the one from Feb. 22)... it may not be up yet. Its hard for us to come to terms with how broken we are. But, I agree that wrestling with that brings us to a point of greater appreciation for what Christ has done for us and the hope that we have to live a new life NOW!

All of that to say, I think I am going to give something up this year. Its going to be a hard one. I sat here for about 20 minutes considering if it would even be possible to do. I don't like to fail, but Christ is here in my successes and failures. I am going to give up alcohol for Lent. Wow! Okay, now it is out there. You all know how much enjoy wine... I realize that I may enjoy it just a little too much and giving it up will probably help me get in touch with my brokenness in a new way. Here I go...

*SIDE NOTE* Please don't ask me if I'm pregnant when I don't drink for 40 days, I will be offended :)

I want to know, do you think this is a good idea? Is it worth it? Would you give something up? Why/why not?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Almost complete

I am finally reflecting on the last day of our trip to Israel. The first thing we did was pack up to leave Jerusalem. Jerusalem is an amazing city that I would like to return to one day, but before leaving we got to walk across the Old City to the Temple Mount.

We almost missed our opportunity to go up on top because of the tensions going on while we were there, but we managed to get through security. Corey almost didn't make it through because he got behind someone from another group. This meant that the rest of had to wait on this walk way over looking the wailing wall. I am not complaining on the wait because we got to see the men in prayer shawls setting up for the scripture reading that happens every Tuesday. Once we had our entire group we made it up onto the temple area.

I felt the most tension in this place that I had the entire time we were there. I could sense the reasons for animosity and the various religious traditions pulling against each other. It was a sacred place, but it was full of fear, pride, and bitterness... from many sides. This made me want to cry this morning when I was reading in 1 Chr 22.

God appointed Solomon to build the Jewish temple because he would be a peaceful man, known for peace... we were there in the midst of war.

The Dome of the Rock is a beautiful structure. We were not allowed to go inside, but the gold layering on top and the beautiful tile work make this a site to be seen... however you interpret it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lydia's Cupcakes

A good friend of mine is an awesome baker and has started making some delicious cupcakes to sell to folks for parties. Take a look at her website if you are interested in some tasty and fun treats for a special event.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Stash

Sorry to call you out dad, but its fun to look at old photos. Sometimes I miss the stash! Its hard to believe that your facial hair has only been missing for a few years.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Celebration

Gotta Love that we have a Valentine's celebration of couples and immediately the women end up in one room and the men in the other :)

Girls: what needs to be done? We are in the kitchen, preparing the final things, and surrounding the food, enjoying conversation about what we did that day, having babies, cooking food, etc.

Guys: in the living room, relaxing on the couch, drinking beer and talking about life... maybe the conversation was about sports, or finances, or politics, or raising families... Not sure, I wasn't in there.

I'm just making an observation, not saying its good or bad or whatever... I would say that I prefer my girl time sometimes and at others prefer to be one of the only points of estrogen with the testosterone.

Many thanks to the hosts with most: Jessica and Hunt and for the reason that we got together: Jonathan and Meredith Ellis. It was great to catch up and spend quality time with good friends.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Its time for another restaraunt review

Some might call Matt and I "foodies". We love to go out to eat so we can enjoy new flavors and ambiances. We shy away from chains and make adventures out of finding the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious meal.

We are also a bit of downtown snobs and rarely venture outside the beltline to find new items to grace our pallets. This tendency should not stop anyone from visiting Savoy.

Thankfully, friday night, we drove out Lead Mine Rd. and found what I consider the best food in Raleigh.

Savoy's scrumptious plates will keep me talking for months...

We started off with a lobster salad, lumps of lobster in between the freshest guacamole and slices of sweet yet tangy oranges... a few glasses of wine later out came our main courses...

I had scallops, pan seared with creamy parsnips and of course, beets, lightly covered with a mushroom Bearnaise sauce. Can you hear me now? "Oh my gosh! This is so good." Close to a scene from When Harry Met Sally.

Matt enjoyed Black Angus steak with pom frits and a double sauce bang, red wine reduction and Bearnaise...

Its hard for me to understand how Peter Gibson and Marshall Smith are able to come up with these fantastik (with a k) combinations.

My only complaint is that we sat in a large booth (big enough for 4) and couldn't touch each other across the table, so we were "that couple" who sat next to each other in the booth :) I love being "that couple"! So, maybe its not a complaint at all.

If you are considering a new place to go and want to enjoy a fun atmosphere (not stuffy at all) and delicious food... venture out towards the North and have a taste of Savoy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So, its over a month since we returned from Israel, but I am still reflecting on the experiences we had over there. I'm still on Day 6, and for some reason this day is taking a long time to work through... there was so much.

After a quick dip in the Dead Sea, our crew made its way to Masada, just before the cable car stopped running. Gerry and Mark had been looking forward to coming here all day. As you can see, there is a trail of switchbacks about 2.5 miles long up towards the top of the mountain... several of us ran it!

Congrats Scott for getting to the top first.

It was hard for me to just book it up the trail because there were too many amazing views all around me. Periodically I would look up from my shoes out towards the Sea with the desert in the back ground and the dusk becoming sky overhead. These are truly awe-inspiring moments.

Don't we have a beautiful world?

Well, the story of Masada is a bit less than beautiful to me, but still something that makes you think. Check it out if you are interested in a more detailed version, but basically the Israelite's chose to kill themselves instead of facing assurance of death by the Roman Army. They killed themselves before the Romans stormed their fort because they new they would be forced to worship their gods and didn't want to face that temptation.

Now this is the site where they commission new Israeli soldiers.

There have been battles in this land for thousands of years!

Monday, February 9, 2009


Last week I got to see the guys film this. It is a privilege for me to know the men in this band. They have a CD release show at the Pour House in Raleigh on Saturday, Feb. 21st at 9PM. You should go! Spread this to your friends too!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Good Shepherd

At home group last night we read this passage from Matthew 9

And Jesus went through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease and every kind of affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out his laborers into his harvest."

We had a great conversation about what Jesus was actually doing and then what that means for us. One of my friends, mentioned reading Ezekiel 34 to understand a bit more about sheep and shepherds and what Christ may have been saying here...

I read it this morning and it just confirmed our conversation even more. Ezekiel (the prophet)'s critique was about the shepherds caring about themselves and building up themselves and not looking out for the sheep... In many ways 'the church' or 'christians' are and have been guilty of doing this... its safer for us not to see people, needs, hurts, problems, and to consider that all of us have a story. I'm thankful to be a part of a community that is beginning to recognize that we do this and pray to the Lord of the harvest for a change of heart.

At the same time, we are also like the sheep, lost and wandering, not following the Good Shepherd who seeks us out and carries us through the wilderness... I'm thankful that Jesus doesn't forget to look like I do and that he has and has had compassion on me in so many ways.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jason turned 30!

Jason, my friend and co-worker, turned 30 on Tuesday. Diana, one of my closest friends for years, (also Jason's wife) was able to pull off a grand surprise at Tir Na Nog for him.

It went down like this, one evite to us explaining the surprise and one a separate one including Jason to a "fake" party the next weekend! Diana... You are Amazing!!!

We had a great time... lots of laughs... (Shannon, its not your birthday!)


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We have Issues and We need to deal with them

I am once again confirmed about starting a group for women facing disordered eating patterns and negative views of self....

This morning I got an email from a friend who was quoting a statement from another friend's facebook page. I don't know the woman who posted this, but maybe you can identify with part of it....

My worst enemy....MYSELF. I am very judgemental of myself, and put myself down daily. I wonder if I will ever feel good enough and my appearances will ever be to my satisfaction. I know we all deal with our weight issues from time and time...but I think about my weight almost every minute of the day...and that's no exaggeration. I hate the way I feel about myself. Wedding or sucks.

You may not find shock in this or you might. If you identify with this statement or have identified with or do from time to time then you might consider coming to the group that I am going to start in March. I actually found out that there is a group called Eating Disorders Anonymous. I am looking into doing something similar to this.

Upon viewing their website I found out that there is a group meeting at Hope Community Church on Saturdays at 11AM At first this made me think that I should just become a part of this group, but then I started thinking about AA and NA and other groups like this that have multiple locations and meetings all the time. I would venture to say that dealing with our eating issues is just as prevalent and support is just as necessary.

I was also talking with another friend who mentioned that she didn't know if she wanted to be a part of the group because she wasn't sick enough right now. To this thinking I say, this is exactly when we need support and can encourage each other. There is a part of me that has this attitude and doesn't want to admit the "little" things (compared to almost death), that keep me in daily bondage... NOT WORTH IT!!

Be looking for the group to come.
Any Comments?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Economic Stimulus Package

I watch The Today show pretty regularly and this morning Matt Lauer's interview aired with President Obama. Its about 11 minutes long, they talk about a variety of issues, family, war, economy, football... (not very in depth, but enough to wet your appetite)

I don't claim to know a ton about what is included in this package or even have very solid opinions about what needs to happen. But, I'm sure some of you do!

One thing I think is cool is that Obama is taking questions to answer during a video airing on Saturday evening this week. Anyone can submit questions. Do you have one?

Submit your question here

Saturday, 7PM meetings

I am pretty confident that whatever the stimulus package is going to be, it is not going to "fix" our economy. There are some fundamental issues that need to be addressed (such as greed, power dynamics, pride, materialism)... I don't think the government can combat those... 

Do you have thoughts on what WE can do? and/or what the GOVT should do? 

How would you like to see God's kingdom move forward?

Saturday morning I was part of a meeting at my church, Visio Dei. It was a great opportunity for me in my job to have some concrete ways to coach and follow up with our servant teams (let me know if you need an explanation about this, brief description here).

One of the major questions that we are asking each team to consider is... how would we like to see God's kingdom move forward? I'm excited to get the responses and help people consider what that looks like and what continual learning, growth, and change will need to occur to be a part of what God is doing in the world.

Have you considered what God is doing around you and how you can be a part of that?
If so, how?

Its profound to me to think that we can consider and live out a new way of life. Its difficult to contemplate what this looks like sometimes. I am hopeful to get glimpses and pieces and to be a part of learning and living with others who are moving after the same goals.

To God be the Glory of it all!


Friday was a special day for me because my mom came to visit. I'm thankful that she drove down here just for 24 hours. It took 5 hours to get here, and thankfully, only 3 to return.

I got to introduce my mom to Devi. Devi is my threading girl. If you have no idea what I am talking about... watch this video. If you are interested in trying this technique I'll give you Devi's info.

I think I have converted my mom to a threading woman too... this just means that she will have to come visit me every couple of month.

After our threading expose we headed to Cameron Bar and Grill where Kim works. We were actually going to check out the new cafe... The Flying Biscuit (now one of Nofo's biggest competitors) but it was way too crowded. We enjoyed our lunch and spent several hours talking about life in ministry. I love my mom so much!

Its amazing to see how we grow as people and extend love and compassion to one another in new ways as we allow God's grace to seep into our lives.

What a weekend!

This weekend will take several posts to digest...

  • mom in town
  • big meeting at Visio
  • Jason's 30th bday
  • Bernie's 28th bday (um... you need to start blogging again!)
  • the Covenant of peace
  • movement towards focus on the group i want to start
  • Super Bowl Fun.
I'm not sure I will get to all of them this morning... plus, I still have more say about Israel... ahh, too many thoughts to share. Please be patient with me. I know you are all bracing yourself for more fun, laughter and deep reflections :)